Tonight, My Husband's Not Gay premiered on TLC. The show focuses on married men who are attracted to other males, but do not act on the feelings due to their Mormon religion. They maintain successful heterosexual relationships.
First we met Jeff and Tanya, married nine years with one son. Jeff experiences what he called "SSA" - Same Sex Attraction. Tanya explains it this way - it's someone who is attracted to the same sex but wants a heterosexual relationship. Tanya said when she first heard from Jeff that he was attracted to men, she was devastated. But after reading books that Jeff gave her, she moved past it. She said that many of her friends are in a similar situation, and they are not oppressed
Pret and Megan were next. They have been married for eight years. They met at the age of fifteen, and Megan was always interested although Pret was not. After dating on and off, Pret let Megan know about his SSA. Megan said her first thought upon hearing about Pret's SSA was wondering if Pret would be attracted to her. Megan said she knew there were periods in her marriage when the attraction wasn't there, but in the show, it seems evident that Pret is attracted to Megan at this time.
Curtis and Tera have been married for twenty years, but Tera has only known for four years that Curtis experiences same sex attraction. He'd never spoken to anyone about it before, but he knew it was time to share. He explained it to Tera in way that made sense to them - Curtis has sexual attraction to men, but doesn't want to act on them. He doesn't identify as bisexual; he stated that sexuality is fluid.
All of the couples share a prayer group, which includes SSA couples as well as those who are not SSA.
Pret told the confessional that nine or ten years ago, if his religion allowed, he may have acted on his same sex attraction. But now, that's not what he would want.
Some of the SSA guys met to play basketball. One of the guys said he plays to get in touch with the masculine side he feels that he's not embraced previously. One of the guys said he does notice the guys in a sexual way.
The guys discussed the danger scale of attraction:
1 - You notice
2 - You look again
3 - You'd be tempted to keep looking again and again
4 - You're require restraint
The women visited their guys at basketball. They said they like to see their husbands, along with any other eye candy (their words, not mine) at the park.
The guys grilled one of the basketball players named Tom, a 34 year old that's never kissed anyone - a guy or a girl - about who they can set him up with. He's interested in guys but not interested in acting on that attraction. He wants to be with a woman.
Tanya, the other SSA wives and some women that were not aware of the SSA situation went for a hike. The women talked about how the guys come back from their guy time (like the basketball games) even more committed to their relationships. Inevitably (because this is a TV show), the whole SSA topic came up. The women spilled their stories, including the fact that they strongly support that their husbands are not gay. Tanya said she and her husband have a great sex life, and their relationship is great because they know how to discuss difficult topics.
Tanya seems to really love her husband's SSA - she asked how high on the danger scale any guy has been and if women can be on the danger scale too, to which the answer is yes, but infrequently.
Pret and Megan touched on a serious subject - the fact that Megan had recently given birth to a baby who lived for only twenty minutes. Megan announced that she's pregnant again but said they haven't told anyone. On the show, they announced the pregnancy to their daughter Lily. Pret and Megan thought Lily would be more excited about the pregnancy, but all she said is that she wants a sister. She also said she loves Stella (her sister who passed) - it was so sweet and sad.
The guys took Tom shopping for his date. His typical style, in his words, is basketball shorts. Again, Tom explained how he's attracted to men but wants the typical straight lifestyle. A key point came up - it can be unsettling that nothing seems to quite fit completely because being gay goes against the church, but it can be painful to leave the church.
Tanya got defensive when her husband said he was going to go camping with his friends and some guys he doesn't know well. She was concerned, though, because some guys had slept over in the past and things had gotten out of hand. It's not that she doesn't trust him, she says, it's that she doesn't trust others not to try something.
The big dinner party / blind date got started. Tom worried about being attracted to his blind date. He was told that her name is Emily and she's Mormon. Emily was not advised in advance about Tom's SSA. Tom didn't want it brought up during the date. Tom was advised that he shouldn't wait too long to mention it, because some of the other guys felt they waited too long. When Emily entered, Tom thought she was cute. Emily thought Tom was shy. Emily asked Tom how he knew the group, and he clammed up and made up some excuse. Emily saw right through that because of his reaction and inside jokes between the group members. Tom, deciding the awkwardness was too much or something, and deciding he liked Emily, gave in and told Emily about his SSA. Emily responded with "Thanks for telling me," which is a completely appropriate response for a woman on TV who will be judged by viewers. She told the confessional that she thinks Tom is brave, and when asked by Tom, she said she'd be down to go out again.
My rating: This show gets a C. It's not that exciting - really, it's just like there's some guys who are attracted both men and women, but are in committed relationships, so it doesn't matter if they're attracted to anyone other than their spouses because they are not going to cheat. I think these guys are welcome to any lifestyle they want - they probably do face a crazy amount of pressure between the church not supporting homosexuality, their attractions to men and their attractions to their wives - but that doesn't make their stories that interesting.